The Bells of Baddeck (2015)

Music Drama in Two Acts

11 men/ 5 women and chorus, piano, violin, cello

Premiered Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site,

Baddeck NS. July 3, 2015


Shortly after returning to the University of Toronto to completed doctoral studies, Burry was introduced to singer and vocal professor Lorna MacDonald.  MacDonald had received a SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) grant to write and produce a large scale music drama centred around the lives of two of the most famous residents of her Cape Breton home: Mabel and Alexander Graham Bell.

 MacDonald was the librettist for the project and Burry was commissioned to write the music.  The Bells of Baddeck, labeled a “music drama” for its blending of operatic and musical theatre elements, premiered at the Parks Canada’s Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site on July 3, 2015.  It received two 

 From the composer’s notes…

 It always amazes me to look at the development of a project from inspiration to the stage, and if there is one word that is intimately linked with the name Alexander Graham Bell it is inspiration. It certainly was the inspiration of Lorna MacDonald, which lifted The Bells of Baddeck off the ground, but it was my own first visit to Baddeck and the Bell Museum, which provided all the inspiration that I needed to create the “sound” of the show. As a Newfoundlander, this part of the world holds a very special place in my heart, but to see the way that Alec and Mabel connected this small maritime town to the greater international community was nothing short of miraculous.  Musically, the place, this history and Alec’s own love of the piano all play into the score of The Bells of Baddeck, offering a wonderful opportunity to incorporate the language of Scottish fiddling, barbershop, Victorian parlour music, operetta, Music Hall and ragtime.  Finally, the naturally beauty of Baddeck: the lake, the hills, the fields and the forests are reflected in the music and are as potent a draw as they were for Alec and Mabel so many years ago.   1886 or 2015, the timelessness of this place was as much an inspiration for this composer as it was for the Bells.